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The Lost Ark of the Covenant

Date: 03-08-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Tudor Parfitt, Dr. James Richardson

Professor Tudor Parfitt discussed his new book, The Lost Ark of the Covenant, in which he recounts his real-life quest to recover the 2,500 year old biblical artifact that contained the Ten Commandments.

Parfitt provided a brief history of the Ark of the Covenant, pointing out that it may have differed in appearance from the descriptions presented in the Bible. He also spoke about his life's work tracking down the lost tribes of Israel in Africa and Asia. Parfitt's journey eventually led him to Zimbabwe and to the Lemba, a tribe that claimed to be Jews who had traveled from Israel to their present homeland in Africa centuries if not millennia earlier.

According to Parfitt's research, the Lemba brought a wooden drum-like object out of Israel that was eerily similar to the Ark of the Covenant. The Lemba's 'Ark' had rings on each corner, was carried on poles, covered with skins and contained sacred items, Parfitt said. It was associated with noise, explosions and fire, Parfitt explained, noting that the object guaranteed victory in war for those who possessed it.

The Ark-like object was looked after by the Lemba's priestly clan, the Buba, who Parfitt said possess the same genetic 'haplotype' as those who today claim they are related to the temple priests of ancient Israel. Radiocarbon dating places the date of the Lemba's Ark to around 1300 A.D. Parfitt believes their original Ark was destroyed. Remnants of the newer one are located in a museum in Harare, Zimbabwe, he said.

Satanic Cult Abduction

In the second half hour, Dr. James Richardson commented on the bizarre story of an Arkansas mayor who claimed to have been abducted and brainwashed by a satanic cult (news article). Richardson expressed his skepticism for the mayor's story, noting that "the odds are extremely long that anything like that could ever happen." He also briefly discussed the McMartin preschool trial -- a day care sexual abuse case from the 1980s.

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